Thank you to those who came to the refugee discussion in West Leeds

Thank you to all who came. I certainly learned several surprising facts. Here is a quick summary of what I heard.
refugee meeting november 2015It was first highlighted that a high proportion of refugees are been created in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. Generally corruption, military government and war can make life impossible for people to live. An example is Eritrea, in which military conscription is for life! Some of these are “Internally Displaced People” who will not necessarily leave the country. But other groups of refugees are forced to flee their country. The BBC graphic below shows the number of Asylum applications in the EU. However many of these applications are unsuccessful.
_86549138_eu_asylum_application_origiThe United Kingdom has accepted relatively few asylum applications.
_85333547_asylum_applications_eu_624It is possible to appeal against a refused asylum application. A “no” decision usually results in a cut in the person’s £5 a day allowance or a cut in the blue card to use at supermarkets. Asylum seekers spend an average of 18 months on the blue card scheme. And the £5 allowance is only given if you are absolutely “destitute”, as in not-a-penny-to-your-name. Any cash with the person will lead to a reduced allowance! They are also not allowed to work but usually are too scared to return to their country of origin. Sometimes the country of origin is not known or the authorities think someone is lying. This can leave them in a no-mans-land, with 11000 people in the United Kingdom waiting over 7 years for asylum claims! The authorities have no where to theoretically send them back. Sometimes refugees/asylum seekers are detained at detention centres, this can be indefinitely!

The grim graph below shows what happens when authorities stop rescuing boats:
_86549144_migrant_deaths_mediterranean_gra624_091115What is the government changing/cutting?

  • In certain cases the government will assist people in returning back to their country. Next year this will be directly operated by the government, expect it to be harsher.
  • Cuts to allowances for Asylum Seekers in the 2015 Immigration Bill
  • Government support in some instances, will be reduced to a phone line.

What should we do?

  • Campaign for factually correct media articles
  • Campaign for the United Kingdom to stop supporting alliances with Israel or Saudi Arabia
  • Support groups such as the Red Cross who support asylum seekers/refugees who are forced to be homeless
  • End the fact that homeless charities are often forced to refuse accept asylum seekers as their funding is only applicable to legal residents! “they do not (legally) have recourse to public funds”
  • End “indefinite detention”
  • Promote “grace hosting” in which asylum seekers are housed for a night or two with willing UK residents.
  • Provide full access to healthcare for asylum seekers.
  • Allow asylum seekers to work if their case has not been resolved within a specified time.

I appreciate migration is a “divisive” issue but we should at least have a fair system before we even attempt to discuss the question of “how many”. We are all human.

Useful links
Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network
Red Cross
Still Human, Still Here

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